It only took approximately six hours for Danny to intensify from a 50 mph tropical storm to a hurricane Thursday morning with winds of 75 mph. In the words of the National Hurricane Center, "Danny is an unusually small tropical cyclone". As of their 11 am Thursday advisory, the first hurricane of the season was located just over 1000 miles east of the Windward Islands and was moving west-northwest at 12 mph. Compact storms such as this are notorious for rapid and somewhat unpredictable fluctuations in intensity. For this reason alone, confidence remains very low on how strong or weak Hurricane Danny might be at any given point in the forecast period. Conditions appear somewhat favorable for further strengthening in the next 48 hours, but several factors may also cause the storm to weaken over the weekend.
Video forecast for Hurricane Danny by Forecaster Sean Bellafiore.
The largest hurdle Danny has to jump (to maintain hurricane status) is the dry air that is present on it's northern and western side. The storm may pull some of this dry air into its center as is nears the Leeward Islands this weekend, which could greatly reduce the thunderstorms that typically form around a hurricane. If Danny were able to overcome the dry air, faster winds aloft in the northern Caribbean could also be a factor that causes some weakening of Danny before it nears Puerto Rico on Monday or Tuesday. A general west-northwest track is indicated by all reliable forecast models through the period, which would potentially place the storm southeast of The Bahamas by the middle of next week. Thereafter, there is significant disagreement by those same models on what may steer the storm after it moves that far west.
Hurricane Danny is no immediate threat to the United States mainland or the state of Florida. However, it will be watched closely in the coming days and updates will be constantly available on the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network.